would the ramones been as popular if

Dee Dee and joey hadn’t switched positions ?

As I was playing my dog eared cd of mania the other day and was singing along to Chinese rock someone brought up the fact that joey was the guitarist originally and dee was supposed ot be lead singer but couldn’t keep up so joey took over

I said they wouldnt of lasted because they would of been total hardcore punk amd dee dee was so unstable mentally they would of imploded in a couple of years

Joey knew how to mix it up a bit more …

Of course my answer started a whole another debate about how hardcore punk joey was or wasn’t … I mean if hed been born about 15 years earlier he could of had a great early rock/doo wop career in the late 50s/50s (see the California song and rockaway beach …and I even like his version of what a wonderful world …)

Did his solo album ever get released ? I remember hearing about it after he passed but people who heard the pre release said it should be buried …

Dee Dee was unstable? Do you know Joey’s/Jeff Hyman’s issues with OCD and other psychological issues? In the documentary End of the Century, Joey’s brother basically said that his family wasn’t sure Joey could function as an adult on his own.

Joey / Jeff was a singer with Stiletto prior to The Ramones.

I actually met the Ramones at an autograph party we held in my store. I remember looking into Joeys eyes when I met him, and thinking, “Woah… Something weird going on in that guy’s head”. Just my gut feeling.

I knew nothing about him at the time.

Yeah. Dude bummed a quarter off me once at a gig to play a video game. There just wasn’t something right in there from the way he did it.


It wouldn’t have mattered. The Ramones were never going to be popular because they were charting new territory. A different front man wouldn’t have made any difference.

Nitpick: Joey was originally the drummer. Dee Dee realized he wasn’t able to play bass and sing at the same time, so Joey took over vocals. Joey then realized he couldn’t play drums and sing at the same time, so they looked at expanding from a trio to a quartet. Tommy, who was their manager, filled in on drums and ended up becoming the fourth Ramone.

I think Joey’s pop instincts got them as popular as they could have been at the time. Dee Dee as singer? Have you heard “Wart Hog”? (Of course you have, it’s on the “Mania” compilation you mention in the OP) Imagine an entire album of that. In 1976. They’d be an obscure cult act today, cited as an early influence.

I think they had a shot at mainstream success in the late 70s-early 80s. The Clash had 3 hit singles in the US in that time frame. “Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?”, “Howling at the Moon”, “Danny Says”, “She’s A Sensation”, “Rock and Roll High School” all could have and should have been hits, but for whatever reason, just weren’t.
Funny thing - just this morning I heard “I Wanna Be Sedated” on a classic rock station sandwiched in between the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.

For more insight into Dee Dee and Joey’s mental issues, check out Derf’s webcomic “The Baron of Prospect Avenue”, drawn from various real-life encounters. There’s a scene where the main character works as a bouncer at a Ramones club show and ends up babysitting the band before and after the gig.

I think it is pretty telling in End of the Century when Dee Dee notes how they all sort of respected Tommy because he could actually do normal adult human things like shop for food and cook hamburgers ;). Tommy was fairly sane but couldn’t take the pressure and had to drop out. Johnny was sane-ish ( managed the band and money ), but was about as antisocial as a human can get and still function. Joey had the voice and stage presence, but was a neurotic mess. Dee Dee had the songwriting chops, but was neurotic, druggie mess. Marky was an alcoholic. The rest were mostly minor players in the saga.

That they managed to find a comfortable niche and plug away for as long as they did is really a small miracle.

I actually like Wart Hog. Now his stint as rap artist Dee Dee King is truly horrific!